The headlines across Northern Ireland bear not so glad tidings about the effects of the recent snowy weather across Belfast and the rest of the United Kingdom.
Yesterday (on Sunday), Royal Mail delivered an extra 7,000 packages around the city. Thank you dedicated postal workers! http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/evening-post-planned-to-clear-weather-backlog-15034528.html
However, the snow brings beautiful opportunities... See the end of this post. :)
This past week was full of Christmas dinners and parties with groups around EBM (Mums & Tots, Friendship Circle, and then on Friday, the official EBM dinner, and Friday Fusion!)
While thoroughly enjoyable, this past week was a bit harried as I was helping plan two events: Friday Fusion's Christmas Party and Sunday's morning worship: The Nativity Service.
Both went splendidly! The Christmas party was general chaos of course (it wouldn't be Friday Fusion if it weren't), but the kids got to play on bouncy castles, get their faces painted, decorate sugar cookies, and be sent home with a selection pack of candy distributed by Santa Claus.
It was brilliant: kids on a sugar high being sent home with their parents. Recipe for success. :)
Sunday's nativity service of course included children in Biblical-themed costumes. But since I was helping out with it (lol), it was a bit different than your standard nativity. (First change: no children in animal costumes; kids can be cute as humans, no need to humiliate them by dressing up as lambs or donkeys - which also detracts from the meaning of the story. Probably read too many books as a child about the scarring of other children because of Nativity plays.)
The script was around the idea of 'Jesus as the light of the world.' So as each 'character' came out, following their bit of dialogue about the greater significance of their lives to the Gospel story, they then lit their own candle from the Christ candle.
It was a success for two reasons: 1) the building did not burn down. and 2) overall, i think it was a genuine time in which all generations could reflect on these images of light - light coming into the world and being carried out by every one of us.
Since I survived the past week, Monday (meeting day with the other YAVs) eventually rolled around. It was topped off with sledging (aka sledding) at Stormont. It ended up just being myself, another YAV (John), and our fearless leader Doug Baker hitting the slopes with our 'bum boards' (nifty sleds that I am sure are also marketed in the states). It was good craic (aka fun).
Enjoy the following photos from the experience**.
**Disclaimer: who knew the most epic hill that I have ever sledged on would be in BELFAST!?